The smartphone is being touted as the Redmi Note 5 Pro killer
Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer ASUS has constantly been trying to make innovative changes in their products especially in the ZenFone series. The previous strategies range from going high end with the ZenFone 3 series, selfie-focused ZenFone 4 series and now with different tags like ZenFone AR, ZenFone Zoom and ZenFone Live. In 2014, the company was one of the first to start the low-cost smartphone movement in India and now the company aims to take control of the segment.
ASUS has launched the ZenFone Max pro M1, which is made especially for India which according to the company could be the first of many such devices. From the images that are currently available, the smartphone feels premium with an aluminium frame and rounded glass edges. For easy grip, the smartphone comes with a metal backplate which holds the circular fingerprint sensor. The bezels are narrow with an 18:9 display. The smartphone is 8.61 thick and weighs 180g.
The smartphone features a 5.99-inch display with a resolution of FHD+ (1080 x 2160 pixels) which may make it difficult to use it with one hand. The company claims the display has a maximum brightness of 450 nits with a contrast ratio of 1500:1 and 85 percent reproduction of the NTSC colour gamut. It will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset, the same which the company will be using on the Zenfone 5 2018 series and will be available in two storage variants: 3 GB of RAM + 32 GB internal storage and 4 GB of RAM + 64 GB internal storage. There are also options for expanding external memory storage up to 2 TB.
As for the optics department, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 sports a dual camera setup at the rear consisting of 13 MP primary camera and a 5 MP secondary sensor for depth sensing resulting in bokeh effect. On the front, it has an 8 MP camera with a LED flash. One thing to notice that unlike the smartphone in its segment, the camera of the Max Pro M1 doest protrudes at all. The cameras, however, lack a portrait mode which is very disappointing. ASUS also has installed Face Unlocking feature on the smartphone but its yet to be tested how fast and accurate it is.
The unique change is the lack of ZenUI which the company choose to replace it with stock Android 8.1 Oreo. So, the regular Oreo features like the notification dots, Picture-In-Picture, action shortcuts on app icons will all be available. The smartphone is backed by a 5,000 mAh battery which is supported by the 10 Watt charger in the box. As for the connectivity it supports Dual SIM (nano + nano + micro SD), 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5, GPS and more. There is also a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a micro USB and a single speaker at the bottom and a cardboard Max Box accessory which is being advertised as an amplifier.
ASUS has positioned the ZenFone Max pro M1 as a Xiaomi Redmi 5 Pro competitor. On paper, in terms of specs and power the ZenFone has the upper hand but only after testing in the real world it would be possible to give a verdict. Also, the company has made a deal with Flipkart as an exclusive partner and it isn’t interested to create any type of flash sale or create demand. Additionally, it also gives Complete Mobile Protection – which covers broken screens, liquid damage, hardware and software faults and more for Rs. 49 for a year.
As for the pricing, the ZenFone Max Pro M1 comes with a price tag of Rs 10,999 for the 3 GB variant while the 4 GB variant costs Rs 12,999. It will be available in Grey and Midnight Black colour.